Pell City native Locke St. John was chosen on day three of the 2014 MLB Draft Saturday by the Detroit Tigers. The former Pell City Panther, who finished his final season as a Panther with 107 strikeouts, was selected in the 32nd round with the 970th overall selection. St. John is coming off a strong junior season at the University of South Alabama.
“It was exciting,” South Alabama head coach Mark Calvi said of St. John’s selection. “You want the best for all of your players. Obviously, it’s pretty much every kid’s dream and you want to be part of that dream. We’d love to have him back. We feel we have a chance to be really good with him back next year, but we support Locke’s decision whatever it might be, whether he decides to come back. Obviously, we’d love to have him back; it’s hard to replace your best pitcher. Whatever decision he makes, we have his best interest at heart. We love the person first and the player second. He’s just been a phenomenal kid.”
St. John led the Jaguars in most pitching categories including wins, ERA, games started, and innings pitched. The southpaw starting pitcher finished in the top 10 in several pitcher categories, too. He was sixth in wins, seventh in ERA, and fifth in innings pitched. St. John started 15 games, logging 97 1/3 innings and finishing with a 6-3 record and a 3.24 ERA. St. John also pitched a complete game and combined for a shutout and finished with 52 strikeouts.
Now, the 6-foot-1-inch, 174-pounder faces a difficult decision of whether to sign with the Tigers organization or return to Mobile for his senior season. A strong senior campaign could lead to an improved draft spot next year.
In a press release from the South Alabama Media Relations department, St. John thanked those in the Jaguars program for enabling him to be in this situation.
“I’m thankful and humbled by it all,” St. John said. “My family and I have some thinking to do, but I know this would not be possible without the great teammates and coaches I have at South Alabama.”
Calvi has a strong track record with his players being drafted, as St. John is the second consecutive left-hander selected from the program, following Kyle Bartsch last season along with three other South Alabama teammates.
“Locke is as good of a person or better as he was a pitcher for us,” Calvi said. “He was a great teammate and a great player for us and just a great kid. We were thrilled to have him. He went out there on Friday nights for us and did a phenomenal job and had a very good season for us. He won some games and pitched in some big games for us and gave us a chance every time out there. Like I said, it was an honor to have him in the program this year.”